Conventional Car Repair Costs Increased, While Hybrids Saw A Decrease

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Automobiles have become more complex as manufacturers attempt to squeeze more power and greater efficiency out of their engines, and also as they increase the number of power features and other fancy electronics.

The repair expenditure for typical gasoline and diesel vehicles in the US increased by 11.6% Northeastern United States, and 10% for the rest of the country.

On the other hand, the cost of repairing hybrid-electric vehicles has actually decreased.

Power Inverter.
Image Credit: Leo via Shutterstock.

The study was published by CarMD, which manufactures handheld automotive diagnostic devices. CarMD analyzed the most expensive automobile repairs, and hybrids held the single most expensive part to replace; the hybrid inverter assembly. Fortunately, the cost of this repair decreased by almost 5%.

“The most expensive repair in 2011 was ‘replace hybrid inverter assembly’ at $4,098, which decreased by nearly 5 percent in 2012,” wrote CarMD’s researchers. “Hybrid repairs no longer hold the top spot, which is now ‘Replace Transmission Assembly and Reprogram Electronic Control Module’ at more than $5,400.”

So, to be fair, it isn’t just that hybrid repair costs decreased, but that modern transmissions are increasingly complicated and costly devices as well (as if they weren’t costly enough). Even so, cars like the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius need less maintenance overall, despite secondary drivetrains. This is definitely a selling point the industry needs to push.

The Chevy especially needs to push the selling point that the Volt very rarely utilizes the backup generator, and it is possible for it to last far longer than a gas engine without maintenance. Chevy Volts use electric propulsion most of the time, and electric motors can last well over ten years with little to no maintenance.

The increased repair expenditure for conventional gasoline-powered automobiles can also be attributed to the fact that people are keeping their cars longer than they used to. While $5,400 for a new transmission is expensive, buying a whole new car is even more expensive, and many people simply can’t afford it.

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Nicholas Brown

Has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

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